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Tenn. Lottery runs out of ticket terminals as drawings near

Feb 24, 2004, 5:48 am

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Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Tenn. Lottery runs out of ticket terminals as drawings near

Tennessee Lottery officials are looking for more terminals to sell tickets.  They say the number of retailers that want to sell tickets is way beyond expectations.

3800 Tennessee retailers are now selling lottery tickets, while another 1,800 are waiting to find out if they can. But there's a temporary problem - only about 300 ticket terminals available for installation, and there may not be more until the end of March.

"So we need some terminals...quite a few," said lottery CEO Rebecca Paul.

Paul detailed the problem at Monday's lottery meeting. Plans were for 4000 for the first six months of operation, but the lottery is almost at that number after existing only a month.

Paul said, "The demand from retailers who want to sell our product is much much larger than I have ever seen in any state."

And all those terminals in use have produced about $134 million in revene since January 20. 30%goes to education - mostly in college scholarships.

The demand for retailer terminals could get even higher next week as the first televised drawings of the "Cash 3" game begin.  It's the state's first number picking game, with winning numbers drawn every night on WKRN. The lottery board saw commercials set to air this week for the new drawings.

"Ii think we are ready to launch on Monday," said Paul.

A set is being readied in a WKRN studio for televised drawings that will be aired nightly at 6:28 pm.  Lottery board members asked about security arrangements there.

Paul said, "We'll have cameras on 24 hours a day that Dave Jennings and his folks watch, so no one accesses ball machines or ball sets."

Dave Jennings is a former TBI director who joined the lottery as security vice-president earlier this year. He's been busy. So are retailers preparing their ticket terminals for the launch of another lottery game.

Lottery retailer Tammy Brannon said, "I have been trying to learn as much as I can. It's going to be hectic, but we'll work it out."

Overall, people playing the Tennessee Lottery have plunked down nearly $134 million in a little more than a month.  $70 million has been returned to them in prizes.

Lottery officials also heard that last week's sales dipped only slightly from the previous week.  They say a startup lottery usually drops much more in its initial weeks before leveling off much later.

Sales were just over $21 million for the week that ended Saturday night.  The previous week for lottery sales was about $22 million.  Since tickets went on sale last month, $70 million has been paid out in prizes.


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